Tabung Haji waiting for Saudi’s official statement on haj quota

Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

IPOH: Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) is waiting for an official statement from the Saudi Arabian government on the additional haj quota which is expected to be issued around April, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

He said in the meantime, TH would make the necessary preparation for haj pilgrims before they depart for the Holy Land.

“I’m confident that we will be notified around Ramadan. Although it is a short period of time to make preparation, TH will take it positively to prepare the pilgrims and settle all issues.

“We will wait for them (Saudi Arabian government) who has definitely considered the health and security aspects, not only in terms of the worship place but the haj pilgrims as well,” he told reporters after handing over laptops to asnaf students from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Perak at Dewan Besar Tabung Haji here, today (March 11).

It was reported that the Saudi Arabian government has agreed to give Malaysia an additional 10,000 places under the latter’s haj quota when the haj situation returns to normalcy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin secured the additional quota during his meeting with the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, in Riyadh on Tuesday (March 9).

When asked about the haj pilgrims selection criteria and quota, Zulkifli said it was still too early to set any numbers.

“The selection of pilgrims is based on the preexisting conditions stipulated by TH such as they must be vaccinated. As for the numbers, we don’t have any official figure yet. TH will look into the candidates’ financial ability and health, including the senior citizens,” he said.

According to TH official website, the Saudi Arabian government has set the haj quota for every country at 0.1 per cent of the total population and the quota for Malaysia is currently at 31,600.

Meanwhile, on the controversy involving entrepreneur Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruzzaman or better known as Nur Sajat who allegedly insulting Islam and Wan Norhayati Wan Alias or Ibu Yati on alleged deviant teaching, Zulkifli said he would issue a written statement on the matter soon.

On the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision today which allows Christians nationwide to use the word “Allah” in their religious publications for educational purposes, Zulkifli said an internal discussion would be held with the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and the Federal Territories Mufti’s office tomorrow (March 12).

Earlier, 218 UTM students from Johor, Perak and Pahang received a laptop and financial aid through the Iqra’ Programme, which among others provides educational assistance to students from the asnaf group and B40 families. – Bernama